As part of International Women's Day, we are sharing the powerful stories of the women supported by the Women in Safe Homes fund.
Every year on March 8, people come together across the globe to celebrate the achievements of women and raise awareness about discrimination.
Physical abuse, financial abuse. A forced marriage and controlling behaviour in the name of honour.
No one can imagine being in a position like this, but this was the reality for two of the women supported by the Women in Safe Homes fund. Through the fund, they were able to secure a stable home and break free from the violent and frightening situations they were trapped in.
Farhana* was forced to flee from her partner with her two children, moving from refuge to refuge, moving often for fear that her ex-partner would find her.
The 25-year-old even moved to a new city and found another shared refuge. But because of a lack of suitable housing options, she wasn’t able to find a place to move on to.
When she moved into the Women in Safe Homes home, she was exhausted from enduring the upheaval to her life and experienced poor mental and physical health, unable to recover from her experiences for two years.
Her new home is providing the much-needed stability for her recovery. She feels safe and the property is suitable for her needs and the needs of her children. She’s been able to send her children to nursery and sees a support worker every week who is helping her with her recovery.
Farhana’s support worker said: “She’s got this lovely little home and sees me every week. Things are slowly getting better for her. I see her smiling now and it’s so wonderful.”
Without the Women in Same Homes fund, it’s likely Farhana might still be in a shared refuge provision, unable to make the progress she has so far.
There is a chronic shortage of safe, decent and affordable housing for women at risk of and experiencing homelessness.
That’s why the Women in Safe Homes fund was launched in December 2020 as a joint venture of Resonance and Patron Capital to provide a solution to the housing crisis facing women.
So far, the fund has bought 50 properties which have been handed over to housing partners, with 30 properties occupied by women and children.
20-year-old Kim* was facing domestic violence which included physical abuse, isolation from her family and financial abuse. The perpetrator regularly took Kim’s benefit money. Having not spoken with her closest family for four years and cut out from her friends, Kim’s ex-partner ensured she didn’t have access to phones and other technology.
The abuse also included intimidation - the perpetrator threatened to have Kim’s child removed by social care by way of malicious communications he would make to them.
She and her child were referred to the Women in Safe Homes’ housing partner by a housing association in April 2022.
When we spoke to Kim in March 2022, she and her child had been staying in a shared flat for over a month. Since fleeing, Kim has been back in touch with her friends and family who are really happy she has left and are fully supportive of her.
On average, women experiencing domestic abuse will leave and return to a violent relationship up to seven times before they permanently leave their abuser, often because they are unable to access suitable housing and support. This leaves them with a terrible choice between homelessness or returning to their perpetrator.
This is where the Women in Safe Homes fund comes in. It provides a safe, stable and sustainable alternative to inappropriate and temporary accommodation, such as B&Bs and (usually) mixed- gender hostels. And because it provides longer-term housing with wraparound support it enables women to experience stability and security so that they can become empowered to create the lives they want to live for them and their children.
About the Women in Safe Homes fund
The Women in Safe Homes fund is a gender-lens impact investment property fund helping address the housing crisis for women escaping domestic abuse, leaving the criminal justice system and at risk of or experiencing homelessness.
It uses social investment and property sector expertise to buy and refurbish properties – a mix of emergency refuge accommodation and two- and three- bedroom homes – leasing them to its expert, gender-and trauma-informed women’s sector and housing provider partners. One of the important differentiators of the fund is the specialist wraparound support provided to women by the fund’s partners. This holistic approach means women are not only provided with a safe and stable home but with support, they are empowered to take control of and rebuild their lives.
The Women in Safe Homes fund is a joint venture between Resonance and Patron Capital. It has raised c£30m enabling it to purchase around 120 homes and to provide around 300 woman and their children with a safe and affordable home to live in, over it’s lifetime.
*These names have been changed to protect identities
**All photos are stock images
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